Researchers discover key to creating muscles

8 September 2014

A new study has found that regular bursts of a STAT3 inhibitor can replenish muscle stem cells, while also promoting their differentiation into muscle fibres. The findings, published in Nature Medicine, could be an important step towards developing new treatments for muscle diseases.

Researchers at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham) have created a new technique that allows them to encourage damaged muscles to repair themselves. The method also creates a sustainable pool of muscle stem cells, which can support multiple rounds of muscle repair. 

In order to have healthy muscles, stem cells must be able to differentiate into mature muscle cells to repair injured muscles when they are damaged or exposed to degenerative diseases. However, the pool of stem cells or satellite cells must be replenished to protect against future injuries.

For muscular dystrophy patients, the cycles of muscle regeneration and degeneration drain the the muscle stem-cell pool to the point of no return.

However, the new study discovered that introducing an inhibitor of the STAT3 protein repeatedly allowed the pool to replenish, according to the researchers. 

Posted by Jeanette Royston

 

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